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How to work with a Construction Virtual Assistant!

How to work with a Construction Virtual Assistant!

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Let’s start with the basics! 


Hiring a Virtual Assistant is not the same as hiring an employee - They are more cost-effective! VA’s save you money because there are no extra charges like you could have with an employee such as; 


  • Office space
  • Holiday and Sickness pay 
  • Employee Training 
  • Tax & NI 
  • Office Equipment
  • Utilities
  • Salary 
  • Employee Benefits
  • Overheads 



There are also small mundane tasks that cannot be helped during a workday for instance; Coffee breaks, Printer jams, and smoking breaks. If you hire an employee you are paying for wasted time. With a VA the only thing you pay for is the amount of time they spent on your company. 


VA's 'stop the clock’ as soon as they have finished the task for you. 


“What if they get interrupted whilst they are working on my company?”

If there are any interruptions your VA with ‘stop the clock’ so you can be ensured you are not wasting your money. 

Saint Virtual Assistants are construction specialists and all our VA's have a background in the trade industry!



How do I know what to outsource?


Administrivia. You have probably never even heard of this word before, but trust us when we say we did not just make it up! As a business owner, you are more familiar with what this word means than you think.


"ad.min.is.triv.i.a"


These are the mundane tasks that must be performed and are essential to running a business. One of a Virtual Assistants favourite words!


Your Administrivia tasks are one of the best things to outsource to your VA. Try and think of Administrivia as a task that is repeatable and time-consuming, you could repeat this task daily, weekly or monthly. Also, think of the jobs you really hate to do and you are always procrastinating on. Admin is what your VA loves, they are professionals at making your business organised and productive!


As a business owner, you are skilled in many things but if there is a task that you are not so confident in, you could also outsource these to your VA. 

You are great at what you do which is why you became a business owner, not because you love admin!



What should I ask a VA - Checklist!

  • Domain-specific email address

Having a Domain-specific address means they are aware of their data handling responsibilities with the ICO Data Controller Register.

  • ICO Data Controller Registered 

Information Commissioner's Office is the independent regulatory office in charge of upholding information rights in the interest of the public.

  • Availability/ Turnaround times 

Some tasks are very tricky to estimate but the VA should have a rough idea of how long a task should take. Asking your VA how quickly they can complete your work can vary based on the VA, some VA’s only work part-time and will have a specific time set aside during the week to complete your tasks. Other VA’s do work as a full-time VA.

  • Professional Antivirus installed

  • Professional Indemnity insurance 

VA’s will be advising you about your admin in a professional capacity and will often have access to sensitive material. Make sure they have suitable Professional Indemnity Insurance.

  • Their Daily cut off point

Ask them what their daily cut off point is for tasks, if you send them an urgent task at 5 pm they will likely not carry this out until the following day. Make sure you know what it is before you send your VA’s last-minute tasks.



What do I need to know as a client? The do’s and don’ts!


DO - Brief properly! Make sure you are able to brief your VA before hiring them. The best way to start is with the repeatable tasks, next time you find yourself carrying one of these out, open a word doc and start writing down the steps you take to complete the task (the more in-depth, the easier it will be for your VA). Try to include any passwords, templates and screen grabs, etc they may need. 


DO - Time yourself! This will give you a good idea of how much time your VA will spend on this, they may even do it quicker, and suggest a more efficient way to carry it out! 


DO - Always try and give a simple task to start off with. This will help the VA understand how you are going to work together and help them get an understanding of your company, this may be a research task or maybe proofreading a document. 


DO - Be organised! Having an organised client is the best thing for a VA. It makes their life a lot simpler. This could be logins, contacts, scanned paperwork etc it saves a VA time as they could be spending time chasing you for these things when they could be carrying out the task. 


DO - Keep in touch! If you see a missed call from your VA, try and call them back as soon as you can, it could be urgent but it could be something minor, keeping in touch with your VA is the most vital part. 


DO - Say thank you! It’s such a small thing but this can make your VA’s day with a quick thank you. 


DON’T Micromanage your VA! Your VA is there to make your life easier and take the tasks you should not be doing off your hands, giving you more time to focus on the high-level tasks in the business. If you start spending this spare time to check up on your VA, you will be in the same exact position as when you started!

DON’T Be Disrespectful! As stressful as running a business can be, there’s no point in taking it out on your VA… They are there to help your business and you have to remember you are working with another business so a level of professionalism should always be there as a minimum.


DON’T Ask your VA to do anything illegal. From May 2018 as data processors, they will also be liable for your dredging the internet for random emails - they will ask you where you got your marketing list from and how they signed up to comply with the new GDPR laws. 


DON’T Pay late! They are professionals, they have bills to pay too, tell your VA if there is a problem with the payment straight away. Making them wait for payment means they will be wasting their time chasing you for the payment, their time is valuable and does not need to be wasting it.


DON’T Expect your VA to work on-site! A Virtual Assistants greatest asset to you is not having to pay for office space and utilities. Working on-site also means they become unavailable to other clients. So please do not expect them to work on-site.

 

DON’T Disappear! You have all this free time now that you have delegated your tasks, but please do not disappear on them, you still have a business to run! Most people need a reminder of this now they are not tied to a desk or working late hours.

DON’T Leave things to the last minute! If you send your VA a task at 5 pm this most likely will not get done until the next day. A Lot of VA’s have a daily cut-off point for tasks, make sure you ask your VA what theirs is. If you know you have a meeting or another important event coming up make sure you are prepared so your VA doesn’t receive an urgent last-minute job when they are about to turn in for the evening.

We hope this blog gives you some valuable information on how you could work with a VA and what to expect! At Saint VA we are construction focused Virtual Assistants with over 35 years experience. We have pretty much seen everything that can happen in the trade industry so you can rely on us to provide that extra support you have been looking for.


If you’re ready, go check out Saint Virtual Assistants and we will help you and your business thrive!


This article was written for Saint Financial Group, a multidisciplinary group based in the UK that helps construction businesses develop and grow. SaintFG offers a range of quality solutions in supporting businesses.

Saint provides the luxury of free business consultancy for of our clients, call now for your free consultation with a friendly business advisor to discuss your burning questions and put that energy back into your business!

SaintFG

Written by:

Caitlin Minns

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